Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jim Sheeler weaves together the stories of the fallen and of the broken homes the military casualties of the Iraq war have left behind, through Major Steve Beck, who has made it his personal mission to learn each dead marine's name and help those families grieving for them. Above all, Final Salute is a moving tribute to the troops, putting faces to the mostly anonymous names and to the brave families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Most of the people in this book will die before the fifth paragraph. You probably haven't heard of any of them. That doesn't mean it's a book about nobodies. That doesn't mean it is a book about death. The obituaries collected here are at times humorous, ("The Woman Who Outlived Her Tombstone") and at times heartbreaking ("Love Stories from a Plane Crash"). They shine a light into forgotten places ("How to Build a Mountain") and forgotten lives ("The shortest Obituary on the Page"). Inside are countless lessons of life, taught by people we all pass on the street every day. It's not too late to meet them.